Labor force participation rate near record low
Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge blog has the grim news:
In what was an "unambiguously" unpleasant April jobs payrolls report, with a March revision dragging that month's job gain to the lowest level since June of 2012, the fact that the number of Americans not in the labor force rose once again, this time to 93,194K from 93,175K, with the result being a participation rate of 69.45 or just above the lowest percentage since 1977, will merely catalyze even more upside to the so called "market" which continues to reflect nothing but central bank liquidity, and thus - the accelerating deterioration of the broader economy.
End result: with the civilian employment to population ratio unchanged from last month at 59.3%, one can easily on the chart below why there will be no broad wage growth any time soon, which will merely allow the Fed to engage in its failed policies for a long, long time.
The 5.4% "official" unemployment rate is a mirage. All of the underlying data points - long term unemployment, part time workers, wages - all show a weak, barely sputtering economy. And the American people are not fooled. The latest consumer confidence index from the Conference Board is a real downer:
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had increased in March, declined in April. The Index now stands at 95.2 (1985=100), down from 101.4 in March. The Present Situation Index decreased from 109.5 last month to 106.8 in April. The Expectations Index declined from 96.0 last month to 87.5 in April.
The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The cutoff date for the preliminary results was April 17.
“Consumer confidence, which had rebounded in March, gave back all of the gain and more in April,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “This month’s retreat was prompted by a softening in current conditions, likely sparked by the recent lackluster performance of the labor market, and apprehension about the short-term outlook. The Present Situation Index declined for the third consecutive month. Coupled with waning expectations, there is little to suggest that economic momentum will pick up in the months ahead.”
Consumers’ appraisal of current-day conditions continued to soften. Those saying business conditions are “good” edged down from 26.7 percent to 26.5 percent. However, those claiming business conditions are “bad” also decreased from 19.4 percent to 18.2 percent. Consumers were less favorable in their assessment of the job market. Those stating jobs are “plentiful” declined from 21.0 percent to 19.1 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” rose from 25.5 percent to 26.4 percent.
It's apparent from those numbers that people simply aren't buying the "all is well" crap coming from the White House. It's also obvious that consumers still haven't opened their wallets very much so far this year, with only modest increases in consumer spending in February and March. The only thing keeping the economy above water appears to be the Fed's easy money policy. That is supposed to change this summer when the Fed raises interest rates from near zero. But if these indices don't get much better, as Durden predicts, the Fed will maintain their zero interest rate policy indefinitely.